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I was never any good at saying “I’m sorry.”  As a kid, I just never got in trouble.  My mother spanked me ONCE in my entire life (for coloring on the walls after she had asked me repeatedly not to).  I never got suspended, or written up.  I remember being grounded once – I skipped school and my mom caught me (of course) and I was accordingly punished.  The second and only other memorable time that I got in trouble (as a kid) was on a band trip to the Texas coast, where my pal Kristin and I had invited two boys to our room after midnight.  Don’t look so shocked!  We just played with a Ouija board, and the Ouija board told David that he was looking forward to a future in gynecology.  David was pleased.  In any case,  we got busted by the sponsors (parents) and I was again punished accordingly.  So with only three notable punishments until the age of 18, I was on my own with no experience in apologies because I rarely had a need to.

Come to find out, I probably needed to apologize more than I realized.  But this is in the past, and nothing good comes of dwelling on the past.

In any case, in having to learn the art of a sincere apology, I have had to learn to accept one as well.  Learning to forgive and forget has been by far the most difficult lesson of all, but also the most rewarding.  Intertwined in this lesson is learning when it’s appropriate to forgive, and when it is appropriate to move on with your life, sans one person.  For a while, dropping people that I didn’t care for was my M.O.  I even bragged about it.  I adopted the line (thanks to an old friend), “I’ve got enough friends, I don’t have to deal with someone that is anything less than what I want.”  It makes sense on the surface, but looking deeper, most people deserve a second chance.

My current theory?  The punishment should be proportionate to the offense.  What good does it do you to hold grudges and remain angry?  In my experience, it makes me a very unhappy, unfulfilled person.  Granted, there are some people and situations that you just don’t want in your life.  My pet peeve is demanding, pushy personalities.  If you don’t like that I can’t (won’t) spend 3 days a week with you, I’m not the person for you.  If I’ve told you no once, asking me again and again will quickly push me away.  We all have things that we know we can’t deal with.  Even so, these grievances don’t equal an enemy in my book, you just won’t be my number one.

No, I still can’t school anyone in the art of an apology.  I can tell a good friend from a bad one, I can tell you when to cut someone loose and when to give them a cautious second chance.  I can tell you to be sincere, and hope for the best but understand if your apology is not accepted.  I can tell you to be calm and never make sudden moves (sleep on it, as I like to say).  Never be hateful, no matter how much you are provoked.  Take the high road, etc… I’m a firm believer in what goes around comes around, and one day when you have to ask for forgiveness, your forgiving nature may be rewarded in kind.

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One Comment

  1. I’m not very good at saying “I’m sorry”. Especially to my husband, James. I shouldn’t look at apologizing as a weakness, but I do. But I really should practice it – to show Adeline & Audrey that it’s OKAY and even GREAT to apologize. So that they will know how to apologize to their husbands when they mess up. And they will.
    Such an important lesson to learn!


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